By Shannon Lane @Shannonroselane

GROWING up as teenager is never easy, especially for Vinicios Sardi who was born without his lower legs

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Videographer / director: Janio Edwards
Producer: Shannon Lane, Ruby Coote
Editor: Ian Phillips

Vinicios, from Sao Paulo in Brazil, met many of his friends at the skatepark

But six years ago the 21-year-old Brazilian found a way to accept his disability - skateboarding.

He said: "I always liked skateboards. I always saw videos, magazines and photos of other skateboarders. And one day I saw on television, someone skating without their legs like me.

“It changed my life. I thought, ‘Well, if he can do it, why can’t I?'”

Before he discovered skateboarding Vinicios was ashamed of his disability

Vinicios, from Sao Paulo in Brazil, was born with a congenital malformation which meant that his lower legs never fully grew.

He said: “I was born without legs. I can walk perfectly because I use two prostheses but there are things that are difficult for me and I need some help. But it’s not something that affects my life in a negative way."

He was born with a congenital malformation which meant that his lower legs never fully grew

Despite being used to walking in his prosthetics, Vinicios admits that he felt a sense of embarrassment about his condition.

He explained: “I’ve always been ashamed of being exposed because of my prostheses.

“A huge obstacle I had in my life was being ashamed of exposing myself without my legs. I was really ashamed of accepting that.

Vinicios was inspired by a skateboarder with no legs that he saw on TV

“And the skateboard thing kind of changed my life."

Initially, Vinicios attempted skateboarding while wearing his prosthetics.

He explained: "When I started skateboarding, I started riding with my prosthetics. However, my prosthetics are simple and they’re not prepared for the sport so I ended up breaking one of them.

"I had no funds to buy another prosthetic so I decided to skateboard without them.”

Vinicios' father, Alberto Felipe Sardi, also had initial misgivings about his son taking up the sport.

Vinicios is a regular at his local skate park
He has covered his prosthesis in skateboarding stickers

He explained: “When he started skateboarding I was a little hesitant because it is a profession that needs two legs. I was afraid of him falling and hurting himself.

"But he’s shown everyone that when you want something, there’s no difficulty achieving it."

For years Vinicios had found it hard to be open about his disability, but when he discovered skateboarding everything changed.

He said: "The skateboard thing kind of changed my life"

He said: “When I started skateboarding, that completely changed. My passion for skating was bigger then the shame I felt. So I overcame that.”

One of Vinicios’ biggest fans is his aunt, Aparecida Sardi. She explained how Vinicios’ condition was never an issue for his family.

She said: “For us there wasn’t a lot of difference, we embraced it. Today he is who he is.

“He’s been giving wonderful performances in championships. It shows us that we don’t have a limit.

Vinicios broke one of his prosthesis when he was skateboarding
He is no longer ashamed of his disability

“When you want something and you dedicate yourself, you are able to achieve it. So we see it as a good thing."

The amateur skateboarder regularly goes to the local skatepark in São Paulo with his friends, and dreams of one day becoming a professional.

He said: "My dream is to be a professional skateboarder and I train a lot to achieve that. I’m really focused on that.

And his ambition is supported by his proud dad, Alberto Felipe.

He said: “I hope Vinicios achieves his objectives. I hope he continues to overcome and spreads the message that a disabled person is not just that person who stays in their room somewhere, afraid of society.

He has support from all his friends and family

“He shows that disabled people are capable and he can get there like others, and even go further.

“I am very proud of my son."

But however far Vinicios goes in skateboarding, he knows that his biggest triumph will always be overcoming his disability, and the shame that brought him.

He said: “My biggest achievement in skateboarding was losing the shame I had and to be able to expose myself in the world as I really am.

“Today I can show this image to people.

“Life is way bigger than the limitations you have in your body."